Room AC-W 18
Mon/Wed/Fri 11:30-12:30
Mick Alderson
Office AC-W 124
Phone: 424-7051
Office hours: Mon 1:00-2:00

Class Schedule | Projects | Shop Safety Rules | Class Notes

OBJECTIVES: The purpose of the course is to provide a foundation in the process of organizing, procuring, and constructing props for theatrical productions. Topics will include analyzing a script to develop a props list, strategies and sources to acquire props, and especially skills needed to shop-build props using a variety of techniques.

Theatre is a collaborative art, requiring an understanding of the work of the other artists in the theatre process and of the wider culture as a whole, which is your source of inspiration. This works both ways. Life is also a "collaborative art". As part of a liberal arts education, the study of theatre contributes to an understanding of our culture, how it works and how it affects us, and in turn why and how we can affect our larger society. A liberal arts education thus makes us more effective participants in society.

COURSE FORMAT: The class structure will consist of lectures, in class demonstration of skills and techniques, and hands-on labratory instruction in the scene shop. Much of this will take place during the regular class periods, but some outside time is expected of each student to complete course work. Students are expected to cover appropriate sections of class texts and any additional materials before the class meets. Books for supplemental reading will be available in the front office.

Because many discussions will involve shows which we produce, students are required see all productions in the Fredric March Theatre this semester.

QUIZZES: Quizzes will be given at the completion of each unit. These quizzes will be given at the beginning of the appropriate class period, so be on time.

PROJECTS: Several projects are assigned at regular intervals throughout the semester and relating to lecture material. These projects are meant to challenge the hands-on skills and creative problem solving capabilities of the student, and will comprise the majority of the final grade.

Be advised that the lab portion of this class will require students to:
a. Use hand and power tools commonly used in wood construction.
b. Work with & around paints, solvents, and substances requiring the use of additional protective devices such as gloves, respirators, etc.
c. Perform limited metal working operatíons such as cutting & welding.
d. Work in an environment where sound levels may exceed 125 db, requiring the use of hearing protection.

The student will be instructed in the safe use and operation of the above tools, tasks, and systems.

PRODUCTION COMMITMENT: This class has a production requirement. This may be fulfilled in one of two ways:

a. Construction Crew: If your schedule permits, you may sign up for several hours per week, preferably for the build period of one show. Total commitment is 25 hrs. in the shop.
b. Running Crew: If your schedule permits, you will be assigned to the running crew of a show. This will require you to be involved from technical rehearsals to the close of the show. This commitment will require 1 1/2 to 2 weeks of evening and weekend rehearsals. You must attend every required tech/dress rehearsal and performance! Consult the Production Calendar.

In all instances, logging in and out is required for the production commitment. For construction crew you are responsible for logging hours in the Log Book in the Technical Director's Office, W124. If you do not log in and out, the hours won't count.

Running Crew requires checking in with the Stage Manager of the production on arrival at each rehearsal or performance. Realize again that you must attend every required tech/dress rehearsal and performance!

Productions are:

Seascape: Oct. 5-8, (Techs start Sept. 30)
The Fantasticks: Nov. 16-19, (Techs starts Nov. 11)

Active participation of the student in the learning process is essential in this class. Come to class and lab on time and ready to go. Do not hesitate to ask questions. When working in the shop, safety rules will be enforced. Wear clothing you won't mind getting dirty or painted, especially on Wednesdays and Fridays. Wear sturdy work shoes; no open toed shoes or sandals; no loose clothing, hair, or jewelry. Appropriate hearing and eye protection will be required in the shop. Please refer to attached shop safety rules.

Because this class is largely concerned with the skill necessary to create props, much time will be devoted to lab work in the scene shop. The student is expected to:
a. Use hand, portable power and stationary tools commonly used in wood construction.
b. Lift weight up to and including 50 lbs.
c. Work with and around paints, solvents and substances that may require the use of additional protective devices such as gloves, respirators, etc.
d. Work in an environment where sound levels can exceed 125 db, requiring the use of hearing protection.

The student will be instructed in the safe use and operation of all the above tools, tasks, and systems. Written, verbal, and physical demonstrations of an understanding of these safety procedures will be required.

   The Theatre Props Handbook, by Thurston James
   Additional handouts from the instructor as needed.

10 ft. Tape measure
Personal eye protection

A "strike" is the tear down of scenery, lighting and/or costumes of a production on its closing night. Strike begins immediately after final curtain and is approximately two hours in length. All students are expected to attend every strike and to be on time. Students must check in at the beginning of each strike and out at the end. If you leave early you will be considered to have missed the entire strike. Crew assignments will be posted on the bulletin board before strike.

Strikes are:

Seascape: Oct. 8, Approx. 4:00 pm
The Fantastics: Nov. 19, Approx. 4:00 pm

Grades will be based primarily on lab projects, as well as quizzes and production work.
30% Quizzes
50% Projects
20% Production work
Total 100%

Grading will be based on the following format:
94 - 100 (A); 90 - 93 (A-); 87 - 89 (B+); 83 - 86 (B); 80 - 82 (B-); 77 - 79 (C+); 73 - 76 (C); 70 - 72 (C-); 67 - 69 (D+); 63 - 66 (D); 60 - 62 (D-); below 60 (F).

INSURANCE: Each student must have health insurance.


Project 1: Reading SDS

Given a sample Safety Data Sheet, answer the questions about your material on the attached questionnaire. Not all questions have an answer given, in which case the proper answer is "Not available".

Project 2: Analyze one-act script for prop list.

Over the course of the semester, create a setting including AT LEAST the following items. The exact ORDER you follow as to which projects to do first is up to you; you are your own props master, BUT you are responsible for meeting the calendar deadlines when the "next" project is due. NOTE: all items should be "created" pieces, not "as found". Grades will be based on creativity and execution. Points will be deducted for lateness.

Project 3: Jewelled casket -or- "Leather bound" book
Project 4: Small table or desk.
Project 5: Turned belay pin or similar item.
Project 6: Decorative pitcher or flagon and Gobblet
Project 7: Dagger
Project 8: Electric candle or lantern

Extra credit: Molding or casting piece


Create a setting that includes AT LEAST the items from Projects 3 through 8, and present to the instructor. Grade will be based on layout, and quality of execution. Your are allowed to re-work your own previously completed projects, and you may add "pulled" props, such as a chair or stool, to the setup. Be prepared to defend your choices to the Technical Director (me!).



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